Living with Covid (apart)

I have been literally living with Covid. She is at a safe distance at the other end of the house. We are living separate lives within these four walls. She is confined to the house, whereas I, at least, am allowed out for good behaviour.

Paradoxically, my wife has tested positive and has no symptoms. Whilst I have symptoms and am testing negative.

We dance around each other. She is mainly in charge of the living room, although she has ceded occupation from time to time so that I can enjoy a comfortable chair and the fire. I will normally be found hiding in my office upstairs. You will laugh, but we only just discovered we can watch live TV on iPlayer and ITV Hub. So, I do that upstairs sat in my office chair – the work / life boundary finally demolished.

When I need food or coffee, I edge carefully down the stairs, calling out her name, like a policeman flushing out an intruder in an empty house. “Where are you?”. I pause half way down the stairs until I hear her and locate her, breathing out her Covid virus. It reminds me of trying to find my phone by calling it. She replies and backs into her cave whilst I forage for food. We are like polarised magnets, repelling each other when we get too close.

Occasionally we surprise each other, like strangers – and I back away rather over-dramatically. I need to avoid her, well, like the plague. It reminds me of that snake game where you manoeuvre within a square, intent on not crashing into your own tail – or in this case, my own wife.

We sleep in separate rooms of course. I do confess to enjoying a double bed to myself and having a sleep uninterrupted by her movements or noises. But it also means I need to straighten the duvet all by myself. Such hardship.

We are fortunate with the weather. It means we can have most of the windows open without freezing. We can converse at a distance in the exercise yard – sat in the sun, on chairs 2 meters apart, separated by a table with coffee and banana cake.

We have become single people living in the same house. Like two lodgers, living private lives. We sleep, eat, watch TV, even video call with the grandchildren, separately. The nearest we came to doing something together was watching The Apprentice final simultaneously in different rooms. I realise I haven’t had physical contact with another human being for five days, except maybe a fist bump on Tuesday with Paul at the running club.

In hindsight, the smart thing to do would be for me to catch Covid as soon as she did, and then we could have been hospitalised and incarcerated together. I suspect I will test positive, as soon as she tests negatiive.

Which she just did. At which our son says “you should stay apart for a few days as lateral flow tests can record a false negative” and our daughter says “you should get dad tested”.

Thanks kids. Despite them, we sneak a quick hug when no-one is looking.

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